Today, I’m sharing a letter AND a recipe. Mondays aren’t always the best, so I hope these words inspire you to start the week by browning some butter and making a batch of these delicious shortbread cookies.
Dear Browned Butter,
If I could bottle a food smell and make it a perfume, you’d be a top contender.
Your aroma is intoxicating. One whiff and I’m instantly transported to a land where my dog stays in permanent puppy stage, chocolate has no calories, and Thomas Hammer hands out free chai lattes.
In other words, your smell is nearly perfect.
Born from a steady, gentle heat, you emerge in simple glory. You aren’t a cold stick of butter anymore; you are a substance completely transformed.
Warmth. Nuttiness. You have it all!
You can go sweet or savory.
You can be a leading lady or a supporting actress.
There aren’t enough words for just how scrumptious you are.
A couple years back, I had the privilege of working for Traci and Christa Hozie – the sibling masterminds behind the Brown Butter Cookie Company. They take simple, fresh ingredients and turn them into melt-in-your-mouth confections. The original Brown Butter Sea Salt flavor is addictive. It’s nearly impossible to just eat one.
Once I moved away from Cayucos (a gem of a beach town on the Central Coast of California), and didn’t have access to those delicious cookies, I trolled the internet for similar recipe concepts.
Though nothing could beat a BBCC original, warm from the pan, I’ve developed a great substitute. I adapted a recipe from Gourmet Magazine to create these shortbread cookies.
Swapping brown sugar for regular granulated sugar adds caramel and molasses undertones to the cookie base. Taking the extra time to brown the butter is what sets these shortbread bites apart from the rest. A sprinkle of salt to finish the top brings all the flavors into perfect harmony.
Browning butter is easy, but requires a watchful eye. Brown can turn to black all too quickly. Simple Recipes has a great tutorial on how to brown butter properly.
Without further ado, I give you…
Brown Butter Buttons
adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (5 oz)
2 1/3 cup flour (9 ¼ oz)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brown the butter until it becomes a light golden color. Let it cool down a bit while you mix together the dry ingredients.
Whisk brown sugar, flour, and baking powder together in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Pour butter into flour mixture, making sure to scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (those create lovely speckles and contain a ton of flavor). Mix until well combined.
NOTE: It’s important to measure your dry ingredients very accurately or the dough will be dry and crumbly, making the rolling process difficult. If this happens, brown more butter and add it to the dough 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is maleable.
Using a small cookie scoop, measure out the dough and roll into balls. Slightly flatten the balls before baking with the palm of your hand.
Bake at 325°for 18-20 minutes. Edges will be just starting to brown. There may be cracks appearing – that’s okay!
Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers (after cooling completely) for up to three weeks. Freeze well.
Yield: 45 buttons
* sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the top of each cookie when it comes out of the oven for a spark of salty/sweet flavor.
You can find all my letters here.
For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.